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Caribbean Bliss. Exploring St.Kitts & Nevis  
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 13401 times:

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/open_zpsddb74a95.jpg

BACKGROUND

In an extreme act of generosity this Christmas my parents-in-law decided to take my wife, her brother and myself to a Caribbean vacation with them. They were considering taking us to Cancun, Puerto Rico or Jamaica but following our recommendation they added Curacao, St.Martin and St.Kitts to their pool of potential destinations. Eventually, after a bit of searching and a ton of thinking the verdict came in: We'd be going to the smallest independent country in the Americas: St.Christopher and Nevis or as it is most commonly known, St.Kitts and Nevis.

This time I had no control over the choice of carrier and route so it came as no surprise that my parents-in-law chose the most sensible and direct way there: Fly from ORD to MIA and from there head down to St.Kitts' main point of entry: SKB (all flights with AA). Wanting to spice things up a little bit I searched for any potentially good deals on daytrips from SKB to any of the nearby islands. While LIAT was too expensive to fly with, Winair offered a very tempting and cheap flight to NEV with the Twin Otter (a mere 11 mile as-the-crow-flies hop!). This made me drool like a Pavlov dog. However the departure times from SKB and NEV were either way too late or too early so if I wanted to make this work I had to spend a night on Nevis. I was about to go ahead and make the necessary arrangements but I then realized that this was meant to be a family vacation and it would not be right to abandon everybody in order to do some random flying around. I decided to abandon my plan thus leaving my dream of flying the Twotter unfulfilled. Nonetheless I eventually got to visit Nevis, albeit not on a plane but on a catamaran.

Here's how the final itinerary looked like:
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/Map1-3_zpsfa49cd57.jpg
Red lines represent flights while yellow lines (barely visible at this scale) represent sea crossings. Courtesy of gcmap.com


Brief Intro to St.Kitts & Nevis

Before I start talking about the flights let me say a few words about the destination. The Federation of Saint Christopher (St.Kitts) and Nevis is a two-island state in the Leeward islands of the West Indies. The smallest sovereign country in the Americas and the Western Hemisphere, it has an area less than 1/10th that of Rhode Island or roughly twice the area of Liechtenstein. The city of Basseterre on the island of St.Kitts serves as the nation's capital. In 1998 Nevis voted in favor of separating from the Federation but it fell short of the 2/3rd majority that was required for the separation to take effect. The town of Charlestown serves as Nevis' regional capital. The local currency is the East Caribbean Dollar, which is shared by several other Caribbean states and territories. The first time I paid any attention to this tiny country was when Kim Collins won the gold medal in the 100m race of the 2003 World Championships. To this day he is treated like a hero by his compatriots and you can see his photos everywhere, including the SKB terminal building and on highways.

_______________________


TAKING OUR TALENTS TO SOUTH BEACH*

*for those not familiar with this phrase, I suggest you read up on LeBron James


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/1_zps24de9878.jpg

Route: ORD-MIA
Carrier: American Airlines
Aircraft: B757
Reg: N673AN

With a departure time of 5:30am and an airport 25km away there wasn't much time for sleep the night before. Nonetheless my theory is that you can never arrive too early at an airport so when we got at ORD the AA check-in counters hadn't opened yet. After we were done with checking-in we still had to wait an additional 15 mins for security to open. After having dealt with the nudoscope we were left with just a bit over an hour before departure. At this point I realized that despite the fact that we had pre-selected our seats online (so that the 5 of us could be together and on the same row) AA had somehow managed to separate some of us. We were the first ones to check-in and there was no equipment change so how on earth did AA manage to ignore our pre-selected seats is beyond me. Too bad I didn't notice this until it was too late. I simply did not expect AA to screw something as simple as that. No brownie points for you AA.

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My passport ready for some action

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My new Bulgaria-purchased suitcase

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Festive decorations at T3's airside area

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The 757 waiting at the gate

Quite predictably we were in boarding group 4 so we had to wait for most of the other passengers to board before we could make our way to the aircraft. My wife and I were initially separated by a couple of rows but eventually she agreed to swap seats with her seatmate's boyfriend and she got herself in Economy Plus several rows ahead of me. This gave her the opportunity to enjoy a seat-pitch massively superior to mine.

A comparison of legrooms at Economy and Economy Plus cabins:
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/spitch2_zps4dda2352.jpg

While everything seemed to be in order and we appeared to be ready to get going we were announced that we had to wait for someone to provide the aircraft with the auxiliary power necessary to get us started (or something like that). This delayed us for about 30 minutes but we were promised that we would make this time up in the air. We took off over a sleepy Chicago and headed south in the dark skies. Drink service commenced somewhere over Indiana and I opted for a simple cup of water. Soon after we got our drinks the sun started appearing in the horizon in a beautiful display of morning colors. A movie was shown on the overhead monitors but (due to the fact that they were placed over the aisle - see photo below) I couldn't see them clearly from my window seat.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_0102.jpg
Cabin view. I could hardly see the overhead monitors from my seat.

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Sunrise somewhere over Kentucky

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Just some water for me this morning

Of course it goes without saying that there was a toddler in close proximity to my seat (in fact it was seated on its mother's lap in the seat in front of me). In what its parents thought to be a cute and charming playful behavior the kid would turn around and try to reach for my cup of water and/or my face on multiple occasions. Good times. Once we reached the coast of Georgia near Brunswick, GA, we headed south and flew parallel to the Atlantic coast of Florida. Along the way those of us seated on the right side of the aircraft were treated to the sight of numerous coastal airport facilities, including those of Cape Canaveral (see below).

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Brunswick River and the Sidney Lanier Bridge in Georgia's coast

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Mosquito Lagoon, Florida

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Shuttle Landing Facility (TTS) in Florida.

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Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Skid Strip (ICAO: KXMR) in Florida.

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Patrick Air Force Base (COF) in Florida.

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Vero Beach (VRB) in Florida.

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Witham Field (SUA) in -you guessed it right- Florida.

Eventually once we reached the Miami Metro Area we turned westwards and flew over Miami Beach and downtown Miami before we touched down on MIA's 8R/26L a few minutes late. The sight of Miami's skyline brought back memories of my visit there 3 years earlier. After parking at a gate near the AA Main Facilities we had to wait for about 5 minutes to be connected with the jetbridge. Its operator must have been a novice (or having an "off" day) because he bumped the jetbridge quite hard onto our aircraft (twice!) making it wobble. Those inside the aircraft started looking at each other as if to say "what the hell?". Once we got connected we walked out of the 757 and like any sensible person would do at this time of the morning we walked straight to the first fast food restaurant we could find.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_0141.jpg
Arriving from the east and flying over South Beach

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_0149.jpg
Descending over downtown Miami

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A beautiful SBA 757 (perhaps receiving a touch up on its fading paint-scheme?). Notice the 737 in AirOne's colors parked nearby.

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Taxiing to the gate next to a maintenance facility

After having chomped our unhealthy breakfast (thanks AA for keeping us hungry!) we walked up to the gate of what looked to be a fully packed flight to St.Kitts this morning.


ISLAND HOPPING (MINUS THE HOPPING)

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/2_zps76f1e1e9.jpg

Route: MIA-SKB
Carrier: American Airlines
Aircraft: B737
Reg: N834NN

Once more the whole family had gotten boarding passes for boarding group 4 so we had to wait for more than half of the passengers to board before it was our turn to do so. While we were waiting we became witnesses to a rather chaotic boarding "line" with people coming from all sides trying to cut in front. Some friends of ours who have been in St.Kitts and Nevis before had warned us that the concept of a queue is not very clear in the Kittitian mind. Given the considerable number of locals traveling on this flight it was therefore no surprise that instead of a line we got to form a blob.


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The rather interesting floor patterns at MIA

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Flying wheelchair

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Our 737 anchored behind the gate

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Vacation time!

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Waiting at the gate

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Ready to enter our bird

Once on the plane we took our seats (this time we were given our pre-selected seats so we were all on the same row) and I was happy to see that there was no (potentially crying) babies anywhere near me. About 5 minutes before the scheduled departure time the pilot announced that the flight would be delayed because we had way too much fuel and that we were too heavy to take-off. While waiting I had a look at AA's magazine and spotted numerous geographical mistakes on their route maps (see below). By the time we got rid of the excess fuel we were already an hour late. We took off over downtown Miami and Miami Beach and headed southeast.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_0183.jpg
Legroom

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Getting ready to go. Or are we?

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_0661.jpg
Holy hell... They have confused St.Kitts with Guadeloupe, St.Martin with Montserrat and Antigua with Dominica. Also St.Thomas, St. Croix and Tortola are all over the place. Come on AA!

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_0188.jpg
Shortly after taking-off

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_0191.jpg
Passing over the American Airlines Arena, home of the much despised Miami Heat. Notice the aircraft-looking shape on the roof

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Ascending over the Venetian Islands of Biscayne Bay

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Cabin view

Once we reached cruising altitude we were distributed immigration forms for our admission to St.Kitts & Nevis, and a bit later on we were served drinks. It was not long after this that we became witnesses to a magnificent parade of tropical islands (see below). First we flew over several of the Bahamas islands, we then got a glimpse of Turks & Caicos, the US and British Virgin Islands and finally, before descending to St.Kitts, the Dutch islands of Saba and Sint Eustatius (formerly both part of the Netherlands Antilles). This being North America no free food (not even peanuts) was served on this flight despite being an international one of ~3 hours. Compare this to what you get on a 30 minute domestic flight on OA or TK. Fortunately, the lovely scenery outside my window was so mesmerizing that I forgot about my hunger. Unlike the 757 on our previous flight this 737 had monitors on each side of the aisle but I don't even remember what movie was shown; I was simply glued to my window.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_0222.jpg
My drink for the ride

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St.Kitts & Nevis immigration form

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/BiminiIslandsandSouthBiminiAiportBIM.jpg
Bimini Islands of the Bahamas. You can see BIM (South Bimini Airport) to the left.

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Lovely Bahamas!

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New Providence Island and Nassau the capital of the Bahamas. You can see NAS on the west side of the island, an airport I flew to/from in Aug 2011.

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Norman's Cay, part of the north Exuma Islands, Bahamas

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East shores of Mayaguana, Bahamas

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Samana Cay, Bahamas. Some recent historical research has suggested that this is the most likely location of Colombus' first landing in the New World (and not San Salvador Island). Today it is the Bahamas' largest uninhabited island.

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North Caicos island (Turks and Caicos) and its airport: NCA

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Island of Grand Turk (Turks and Caicos). To the right of the screen you can see its airport GDT

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The island of St.Thomas of the US Virgin Islands. St.John and the British Virgin Islands can be seen in the background

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/CyrilEKingAirportSTT.jpg
Cyril E King Aiport (STT) on St.Thomas

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The Dutch island of Saba

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The also Dutch island of Sint Eustatius

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A first glimpse of St.Kitts

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Looking toward Basseterre as we turned to the west

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Descending while having both Sint Eustatius and Saba still in sight.

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Finals over some colorful houses

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Getting ready for touchdown

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Turning onto the taxiway

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Parked

Once at SKB we parked near the surprisingly modern terminal and we then walked on the tarmac (no jetways here) in order to get to the immigration area. The lines were rather slow (an early introduction to how everything here runs "on island time"). However not having to compete with any other international arrivals at this time of the day we were through in about 20 mins. A short taxi ride later we were at the St.Kitts Marriott, our home for the next 8 days...


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Walking to the SKB terminal building

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Our 737 parked at SKB's apron

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Interesting hangar-looking thing


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An image of Kim Collins welcomes you to St.Kitts

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I was surprised to see my European phone work in St.Kitts (it doesn't work in the US). I thought "Chippie" was a rather cute name for a telecommunications company.

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Finally here!

_______________________


(Not so) Marriott Christmas

My feelings about our stay at the Marriott were rather mixed. The resort, which is situated on the Atlantic coast of St.Kitts, is huge, with several swimming pools, numerous restaurants, a very nice beach, fairly sizable rooms offering lovely views and for-most-part a very friendly staff. On the Marriott beach (called North frigate Bay beach) one can find several (around 120 or so) cabanas like the ones you can see in the photo below. The hotel policy states in these cabanas are available to the hotel guests on a "first come, first get" basis each morning. However, what guests would do was to either leave their towels/bags there from the night before or bribe some of the staff to "claim" a cabana for them first thing in the morning (by placing their towels there). As a result, even though we would wake up at 5am (out of habit) on most days we would not be able to find a single available cabana. When we spoke to the manager about this he apologized sincerely and told us that this was against hotel policy and that would be changed immediately. In fact he said that he would identify those members of staff that were getting bribed and warn them against it. However nothing changed for the remainder of our stay there. Each morning, pretty much every single one of the 120 cabanas were "claimed" one way or another even though no-one was present. In one ugly incident on Christmas day I almost bitch-slapped an old lady who was trying (rather aggressively) to argue that we had taken "her" cabana when in fact we were there since 5am and it was already 1:30pm when she showed up. On another negative note, the staff did a rather poor job at cleaning our rooms each day, often forgetting to give us new toiletries, leaving hairballs on desks and sometimes not emptying the trash.



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We arrived too late for a swim but we had the next 8 days to look forward to. Here you can see the cabanas.

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Sunrise over the Marriott resort

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Time to enjoy the water

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An old-school map of our host nation at the Marriott lobby.

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Weather station

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View from our balcony

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Drunken photography inspiration while on our balcony, using the plaza lights and the pool as my subjects.

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The 3 main brands of beer brewed in St.Kitts: Skol, Carib and Stag. Even though Carib is a Trinidadian brand the company has an additional brewery in St.Kitts.

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Three more caps for my collection

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Looking south from Muddy Pond beach

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Local currency: The East Caribbean Dollar

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A horse taking a stroll near the Half Moon Bay beach

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A nice find at the beach

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North Frigate Bay. Our resort can be seen in the distance

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Mischievous crab

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Enjoying the water in North Frigate Bay

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Saltwater lagoon near South Frigate Bay

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/Graphic1-6_zpsf5d3d7e1.jpg
Enjoying rum punches, the water and the local patriotic architecture...


Touring the island of St.Kitts

Wanting to see more than just our resort, we hired a local guide to give us a private tour of the island. Akimba (his name) took us on a lovely 8-hour tour of the entire island, including the capital Basseterre, the Romney manor plantation, a walk through the rainforest, the magnificent Brimstone Hill Fortress, the Black Rocks and the southern peninsula (from where you can see both the Atlantic and the Caribbean). In addition to all these places we got to see many small villages and settlements and witness the poverty that the majority of the rural population lives in. We also learned about the island's history and local way of life. Like most Caribbean islands some of St.Kitts & Nevis' towns and places have rather interesting names: Monkey Hill, Half-Way Tree, Taylors Pleasure, Gingerland, Long Haul Bay, and my favorite, Shitten Bay.


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0793.jpg
To the right the Atlantic ,to the left the Caribbean. In the distance you can see the peak of Nevis.

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A colorful LIAT Dash-8 heading to ANU

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0622-1.jpg
Goat and baby

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Kittitian colors on the steering wheel of our tour car.

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Horses cooling off at sea

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The spectacular Black Rocks

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0799.jpg
I wouldn't mind owning one of these

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0744.jpg
A man looking at Dieppe Bay

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Playing card with a St.Kitts and Nevis map as a back design

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Near Half Moon Bay

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Abandoned boat on the Atlantic coast of St.Kitts

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A canon at the Brimstone Hill Fortress. Sint Eustatius seen in the distance

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Brimstone Hill Fortress ruins

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0737-1.jpg
Canon ball

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Prince of Wales Bastion prepped for some kind of event

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Sint Eustatius through a window

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The Citadel

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Ting, a grapefruit soda that the locals like to mix with rum (calling the resultant cocktail a "Ting-n-Sting")

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0587.jpg
Abandoned machinery at Romney Manor Plantation

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A stream through the rainforest

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Ruins of an old sugar plantation

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Cute kitty

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Local flora

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0550.jpg
Traditional houses

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0544.jpg
Old plantation chimney

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0543.jpg
Old tower-like building in the forest

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0532.jpg
Remnants of yet another abandoned sugar plantation

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An unidentified aircraft landing at SKB at sunset



Scroll down or click below to continue reading


[Edited 2013-01-02 05:05:31]


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User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 1, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 13475 times:

Basseterre, the Nation's Capital

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Port Zante Shopping area. Port Zante is Basseterre's cruise ship terminal.

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Santa being inappropriately touched by a penguin

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The Circus, Basseterre's version of London's Piccadilly Circus.

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Fountain at Independence Square, Basseterre

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Wesley Methodist Church in Basseterre. Interesting combo of a stone building with a wooden belfry

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St.George's Anglican Church in downtown Basseterre

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Entrance to St.George's Anglican Church

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National Museum in Basseterre

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Pink building in downtown Basseterre. Its color reminds me of the governmental buildings in the Bahamas

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Port Zante terminal building

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Colorful Port Zante

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While in town I saw a WinAir Twin Otter fly over us. My (almost) ride to Nevis. My apologies for the bad quality, it was rather far away.


Sailing to Nevis on a catamaran

As part of his Christmas gift to the family, my brother in-law decided to take us all on a catamaran cruise. We boarder our catamaran vessel, named "The Spirit of St.Kitts", at the Basseterre marina and for the next 7 hours we sailed along the Caribbean coast of St.Kitts, stopping for 1 hour at Shitten Bay for some snorkeling (we saw a ton of tropical fish, sea turtles and even lobsters), we then crossed "The Narrows" (the channel that separates St.Kitts from Nevis), we anchored at a remote beach on Nevis for some local BBQ prepared in a wooden shed, and then spent some time on the boat drinking rum punches and Caribs (needless to say we got pickled). What a great experience!

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Our itinerary for the day. We left from Basseterre and sailed clock-wise.

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Getting ready to board the Spirit of St.Kitts at the marina.

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Two huge cruise ships anchored at Port Zante

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An AC airbus landing at SKB, as seen from our boat.

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"Caribe Breeze", a local commuter boat leaving St.Kitts for Nevis

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Lovely

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Nevis seen in the distance

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Setting sail for a day full of booze, sea and sun.

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Heading south

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Arriving at Shitten Bay in south St.Kitts where we would snorkel for about an hour. We'd see sea turtles, conch, lobsters and a ton of tropical fish. Just look at the color of this water...

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A recent victim of a hurricane, near the southern tip of St.Kitts

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St.Kitts and Nevis flag

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Catamaran netting detail

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The cone-shaped Nevis and its ever-cloudy top. The island took its name from the Spanish word for "snows" (Nieves) as some early Spanish settlers thought that the clouds on its volcanic summit looked like snow. The full name of the island used to be "Nuestra Senora de las Nieves" (Our lady of the snows).

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Catamaran sail mast

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Arriving at Nevis. Excellent waters here too.

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Local fishermen's boats at Nevis

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Tasty Nevisian BBQ lunch

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Our catamaran anchored at Nevis

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Bye bye Nevis, it was a pleasure.

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Leaving Nevis behind


With this and that it was time to get back to Chicago and the butt-freezing cold of the American Midwest. It's crazy how fast time goes by when you're having fun. Our return itinerary involved once more a stop at MIA. Our layover at MIA was meant to be just over 3 hours long which was barely enough time to allow us to go through immigration, collect our bags, go through customs, drop the bags off again and then go past security. You gotta love how domestic connections work in the US when you arrive from abroad...


THE RETURN HOME. SUNSET ISLAND PANORAMA

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Route: SKB-MIA
Carrier: American Airlines
Aircraft: B737
Reg: N847NN

Our flight for MIA was not until late afternoon so after a relaxed morning by the beach we hopped on a taxi for the short ride to SKB. Once there we experienced what must have been the slowest check-in in recorded history. The old lady at the AA counter seemed to have trouble using the computer in front of her. Eventually after several minutes she checked our 5 bags in (all in my brother-in-law's name for some reason...) and waived us to passport control and security. Once done with these we sat at the -not-so-well-air-conditioned- departures' area which offered great views to the runway. Such a pity that there was hardly any traffic at the time. I was really hoping to see a LIAT or a WinAir aircraft from up and close. Instead, I only saw a few private aircraft and a FedEx Cessna until an American Eagle ATR made its appearance following its arrival from Puerto Rico. It hardly spent any time at the airport. It unloaded its pax, got a fresh bunch of them and off it went back to what may soon be the 51st State of the USA.


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Waiting in line for check in. Everything here ran on "island time".

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The LIAT check in counter

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FIDS. Not a terribly busy day.

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Airside area of SKB and shops

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The other side of SKB's airside area

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An AA ATR getting ready to park following its arrival from SJU

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Control Tower

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The ATR is getting ready for its return to Puerto Rico

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A rainbow makes its appearance after a brief rainfall

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Hello there little fella.

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A FedEx Cessna Grand Caravan

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The ATR departing for SJU

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Going, going, gone

Eventually we saw our 737 arrive from MIA and take position near the terminal. Once all of its pax were off we were asked to get ready for boarding. While walking to the aircraft I started taking photos until one of the ground staff told me to stop. Ugh. Having seats at the back of the plane we boarded using the back door.

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Our aircraft arriving from MIA

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Too bad I couldn't sample LIAT on this trip

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Our gate

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Walking to our aircraft. Notice the guy waving at me not to shoot photos.

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Cabin view

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Waiting for the rest of the pax to board our 737.

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Looking towards Basseterre and the harbor as we taxi toward the runway.

Our 737 was pretty much identical to the one we arrived in. After a short taxi we took off to the east and then immediately turned around and headed north and then northwest (see video below if interested).


VIDEO OF TAKE-OFF FROM SKB CLICK HERE

Just like on the inbound we flew over a bunch of lovely islands on the way to MIA. As it was getting dark however one could not fully appreciate their beauty. This time those seated on the left side of the aircraft enjoyed views of St.Croix (US Virgin Islands), Puerto Rico, Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti), the Bahamian island of Inagua and the Bahamian Ragged Island chain. Once more I ignored whatever movie was shown on the overhead monitors and simply looked outside my window.

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Ascending over the Atlantic coast of St.Kitts

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Cabin view

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Some juice for me please

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Over the Hovensa Oil Refinery of St.Croix. To the left you can barely see STX.

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Leaving St.Croix behind

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Flying over Puerto Rico

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Pueorto Rico's Rafael Hernandez Airport (BQN)

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The island of Hispaniola. In the foreground the Dominican Republic and in the background Haiti.

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A blurry glimpse of Inagua island, Bahamas

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Approaching the Ragged Island(s) of the Bahamas


Just before total nightfall we got a glimpse of the eastern Florida coast and the northern Florida Keys. Instead of descending and landing directly at MIA, we overshot the airport, flew west over the Everglades and then turned around to land from the west (you may watch a brief video of the landing below). Earlier in the flight our pilot had triumphantly announced to us that we would be arriving 15 minutes early at MIA but once we touched down he told us that there were no gates available for us so we had to wait until the aircraft that occupied our assigned gate had departed. He said that this should take 10 or 15 minutes. Unfortunately we ended up waiting a full hour before we were allowed to disembark. This was extremely frustrating for more than one reasons as we were now running the risk of missing our connection to ORD and having to spend the night in MIA. Being at the back of the aircraft we had to wait for several more minutes before we could make our escape to the terminal. Once outside we made our way to an insanely busy immigration area, which involved a rather long walk there.


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The Florida Keys as the sun is descending behind the horizon

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Descending over Miami


VIDEO OF LANDING AT MIA CLICK HERE


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Waiting for over an hour on the taxiway after landing. Getting seriously bored here. Time to play with the camera

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A nice Mexican Interjet airbus next to our gate.

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Broken escalators heading to immigration

Once at the immigration area I was surprised to see that there were separate lines for US Residents and US Citizens. I have gone through US immigration at several airports including ORD, IAD, ATL, LAX, MDW, YUL, NAS, but I do not recall any of them having separate lines for residents and citizens. After a rather long wait and an interaction with a very unfriendly immigration officer I met the rest of the family at the luggage reclaim area. Following a short interrogation by a customs officer and a lengthy security check we were finally free to find our gate for our soon-to-depart flight to ORD.



MIDNIGHT ASCENT TO ORD

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Route: MIA-ORD
Carrier: American Airlines
Aircraft: B757
Reg: unknown (too damn dark to see the reg)

By the time we got to the gate we barely had time to grab some sandwiches from a nearby newsstand before we had to join the line for boarding. Unfortunately it was too dark to see the registration (hell, I couldn't even see the aircraft, period). The load factor was surprisingly low (more than a quarter of the seats were empty) maybe due to the fact that the flight was due to arrive in Chicago at 11:30pm. The floor around my seat was littered with pretzels, which reminded me of the messy cabins in my recent WN flights to/from MSY. Just to keep the tradition going, our flight was delayed for about 30 mins for reasons that were not made entirely clear to us. This meant that we would surely arrive to ORD after midnight.

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Time to go home

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Gate monitor

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In line for boarding

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Boarding behind a Brian Urlacher lookalike

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Messy floors

We took off to the east (see video below) and once more flew over downtown before turning to face northwest en route to Chicago. We were all feeling rather sleepy by this point and one after another kept falling asleep for brief periods of time.

VIDEO OF TAKEOFF FROM MIA CLICK HERE


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Taking off over the city of Miami

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The Miami Dolphins' Stadium

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Cabin view

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Legroom is far from stellar

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Some icy coke to keep me awake.

Not much to say about this flight. A movie was shown on the overhead monitors but a) I couldn't see the monitors from my seat and b) who in their right mind would want to watch "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" while trying to stay awake? Three hours and several crying babies later (you can even hear a crying baby in the landing video below) we were in the freezing cold of Chicago.

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Flying over South Chicago. In the background (on the left) you can see MDW with its runway lights off (it appears like a dark square).

VIDEO OF MIDNIGHT LANDING AT ORD CLICK HERE

Fortunately our bags made it to Chicago safely, even though it took them an awfully long time to show up. A taxi ride later we were at home. After a brief night's sleep we woke up to see that it was snowing quite heavily. Such a weird feeling to be swimming in azure Caribbean waters one day and to be sitting by a window watching the snow fall while wearing a heavy sweater on the next. Kinda cool, albeit a bit melancholic at the same time.

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Back to snowy Chicago

CONCLUSION

So what do I have to say about the whole experience? Let's start with AA. I've been flying with them a lot in recent years (both domestically and internationally) and I have experienced both good and bad moments with them. Well, in this particular case I have to say that AA left a lot to be desired. All 4 flights were delayed, even though not always through AA's fault. The cabins were not terribly clean even though it must be said that they were not as bad as what I experienced recently with WN. I simply can't help it but also mention the terrible mislabeling of some Caribbean islands on their American Way magazine maps. This is simply inexcusable. There was also that inexplicable mix-up with our seats on the ORD-MIA leg. On a positive note I must say that the crew was rather friendly (despite having been recently voted as the rudest among all north american carriers: Link)

As for the destination, St.Kitts and Nevis is a lovely little country that is definitely worth a visit not just for its beaches but also for the cultural experiences that it can offer. The people are friendly, it is not too terribly expensive (as long as you stay away from big-name resorts) and the temperatures in December are just perfect. I'd love to go back one day and perhaps try to fly to NEV this time.


Thank you for reading. For those who love animals I have added some bonus material from the island's fauna. Enjoy.

-Widebodyroga



BONUS MATERIAL: ISLAND FAUNA


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Zenaida Dove, a Caribbean breed of dove that was practically everywhere

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Crab

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An egret resting on our balcony

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Holy mother of Lenin. I saw this jump out of my suitcase one day. Easily the biggest spider I've seen outside a museum/zoo.

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A rain-forest lizard

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A tiny crab on Cockleshell Bay, St.Kitts.

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A monkey near the fortress ruins. One can see numerous of those fellas on both islands.

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A beautiful butterfly near the rain forest.

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Yet another of the many lizards roaming the island




A SELECT FEW PAST REPORTS


For those interested (or terribly bored) I have put together a list of some other recent trip reports of mine. Thanks again.

Balkan Open Jaw. Part II: Greece & Turkey
SKG-IST-ORD

Balkan Open Jaw. Part I: Bulgaria
ORD-IST-SOF

Giving the Big Easy Some LUV
MDW-HOU-MSY-BHM-MDW

The Bay, The Rock and The Tall Stick
ORD-SFO / SJC-PHX-ORD

ANAbelievable Japan. Tokyo, The Quake and the 77W
ORD-LAX-NRT

Chillin in Sapporo. Literally
NRT-CTS-NRT-LAX-ORD

Aller-Retour To Decatur, With 3E, Wait Who?
ORD-DEC-ORD

What'Saab Minnesota? DL Farewell to BRD?
ORD-MSP-BRD-MSP-ORD

Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
ORD-ICN-NRT / HIJ-ICN-ORD

Trains 'n' Planes. A Culinary Trek Of Par-Bru-Col
ORD-CDG / CGN-CDG-ORD

Purging The Miles On The Mormon Trail
ORD-SLC-ORD

Bahama Mama! South Bahamas On Pineapple Air + More
MDW-ATL-NAS-LGI-SML-NAS-ATL-MDW

A Tribute To Meigs Field. A Visit To CGX's Remains
CGX

Ugly Ducklings & Tasty Dumplings. Europe On MA/AA
ORD-BRU-BUD-SKG-BUD-FCO-BUD-BRU-ORD

The Barajas Purgatory. Iberia Being Iberia
ORD-MAD-ATH-SKG-ATH-MAD-ORD

Dirty Green And Red. Transatlantic AZ And FB
ORD-FCO-SOF / SKG-FCO-ORD



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineMH017 From Netherlands, joined Apr 2005, 1691 posts, RR: 30
Reply 2, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 13276 times:

Stojan,

What a well written and documented (with photographs) TR !!!

Loved it from A to Z...

As I've been to St.Kitts and Nevis myself very recently (end of November), may I ask you when you took that picture of the Royal Caribbean - Carnival cruiseship combo (as it might have been my ship there   )

Agree with you, it's a lovely island...when the weather is nice it's a great place to stay, relax, eat and drink !!!
Great airport too, considering the 'heavy' traffic as compared to neighbouring islands...

Looking forward to more TR's...

Thanks for sharing,

MH017/Pieter...



don't throw away tomorrow !
User currently offlineEddieDude From Mexico, joined Nov 2003, 7582 posts, RR: 42
Reply 3, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 13253 times:

Wow! Awesome trip report man! Thanks so much for taking the time to write the report, uploading the pics and sharing your experiences. I really enjoyed the report and now want to go to St. Kitts badly!

Anyway, will be in Chicago (at long last) in May. Hope I can buy you a beer then.



Next flights: MEX-GRU (AM 77E), GRU-GIG (JJ A320), SDU-CGH (G3 73H), GRU-MEX (JJ A332).
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 4, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 13248 times:

Hey Pieter!

Quoting MH017 (Reply 2):
What a well written and documented (with photographs) TR !!!

Loved it from A to Z...

Thanks man! I appreciate it!

Quoting MH017 (Reply 2):
As I've been to St.Kitts and Nevis myself very recently (end of November), may I ask you when you took that picture of the Royal Caribbean - Carnival cruiseship combo (as it might have been my ship there   )

Really? We must have missed each other by a few weeks. I was there at the end of December. The photos of the cruiseships were taken on Dec 21st. Glad to hear that you had a good time too. Did you just stay for the day or did you stay longer?

Quoting MH017 (Reply 2):
Agree with you, it's a lovely island...when the weather is nice it's a great place to stay, relax, eat and drink !!! Great airport too, considering the 'heavy' traffic as compared to neighbouring islands...

A very nice place indeed! We had a ton of fun. The airport was very nice and modern (for most part). They do need to ramp up the air-conditioning though. I was sweating profusely while waiting at the gate.

Thanks for your comment!

Quoting EddieDude (Reply 3):

Wow! Awesome trip report man! Thanks so much for taking the time to write the report, uploading the pics and sharing your experiences. I really enjoyed the report and now want to go to St. Kitts badly!

Anyway, will be in Chicago (at long last) in May. Hope I can buy you a beer then.

Hey Eddie!

Thanks for your kind words! I'm glad you enjoyed the report.

Please do let me know when you get here. We should definitely have some beers together!


Stojan

[Edited 2013-01-02 06:04:32]


Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offline817Dreamliiner From Montserrat, joined Jul 2008, 2387 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 13234 times:

Hi WideBodyroga, Great Report! I really enjoyed reading it! Glad to see another Caribbean related report. You took some great pics detailing your trip. Ive been to both St Kitts and Nevis before, though I was limited to the Liat Dash-8 I was on when on the St Kitts visit.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I thought "Chippie" was a rather cute name for a telecommunications company.

Never Heard of that one before... but then again I havent traveled too much around the Caribbean

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 1):
FIDS. Not a terribly busy day.

They have an FIDS????? ANU doesn't even have one! ANU please take note...

Thanks for sharing your report!



Reality be Rent. Synapse, break! Vanishment, This World!
User currently offlineSRQKEF From Iceland, joined Jun 2011, 885 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 13102 times:

Hi Stojan

Great report! St Kitts seems an amazing little country I would love to visit someday. Also, AA doesn't seem to be too bad.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Approaching the Ragged Island(s) of the Bahamas

Wow! Amazing photo. Love sunset photos from the air.

Regards and happy new year!
Sveinn  



Flights flown: 280 - Airlines: 40 - Airports: 64 - Next flights: KEF-BOS-EWR-PBI-TPA/SFB-KEF
User currently offlineglobalflyer From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 928 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 12926 times:

Hi Stojan,

I am glad that you enjoyed the islands! I only spent time on Nevis so I did not get to see any of St. Kitts except for the ride from the airport to the boat. Indeed AA looks awful. They could have so much potential and are so way behind the other US carriers (at least DL) in terms of AVOD, BOB service, etc. How easy it would be to offer a small snack on a three hour flight with maybe an island theme like a rum punch? You were lucky in immigration as it took me a good hour to clear but there were several jets there at the time. You are so correct with the hotel resorts. I have been all through the Caribbean and Mexico to resorts and every single one of them operate this way. People will leave a book or a hat or a magazine or bribe an employee and then show up after lunch or even at all to claim their cabana or chairs. It is really poor but that is how they all operate! Your pictures of all of the Florida airports and Caribbean islands were stunning (as always)!  

Happy New Year I will lt you know when I am in Chicago next.

Cheers,
Will



Landing on every Continent almost on an annual basis!
User currently offlineroberts87 From Netherlands, joined Dec 2011, 987 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 12895 times:

Hi Stojan,

Great report with some great pictures of St. Kitts and Nevis. Thanks for sharing!
Those tropical islands looks like an excellent place to go to in order to escape cold Chicago!
Also some excellent shots along the way, great that you were able to identify all those islands!


User currently offlinepalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1223 posts, RR: 17
Reply 9, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 12887 times:

Hi WBR

Wow - fantastic report and super pics. What a lovely break away from the cold and snow in the midwest. I just loved the colour of the water there and your catamaran trip looked fantastic.

Nasty behaviour by fellow tourists trying to take ownership of the cabanas every day. When you're on holiday you don't want to stress about anything but this would have been downright annoying and I agree with you - I would have said something to the management as well.

Flights on AA looked so so, and transitting in MIA seems to be a bit of a drag. Nice pics of MIA at night!

I loved the pic of your 738 on the ground when you arrived - how idyllic and tropical. It reminded me in an abstract kinda way to a pic I saw many many years ago of an Air New Zealand DC10 at Pago Pago in American Samoa during sunset with Rainmaker mountain in the background. It was a picture that evoked so much feeling and atmosphere. You also captured that with your 738 at St Kitts.

Good to see you were consistent, at least on the return flight, with "Paedoproximia Repetitiva Aerii". You will be pleased to note that I again suffered from this ailment on a DXB-LHR return in C. Yes, I found out that in reality "C" on BA actually stands for "creche" or "childcare class" given the number of tiny babies on board, who proceeded to scream and cry for 6 of the 7 or so hours we were in the air. There is a cure though - BOSE issued Noise Cancelling Headphones. Guaranteed to block out the sound of badly behaved children and screaming babies!

Thanks again! Palmjet



Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 10, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 12799 times:

Thanks for all the comments so far guys. Greatly appreciated.


Quoting 817Dreamliiner (Reply 5):

Hi WideBodyroga, Great Report! I really enjoyed reading it! Glad to see another Caribbean related report. You took some great pics detailing your trip. Ive been to both St Kitts and Nevis before, though I was limited to the Liat Dash-8 I was on when on the St Kitts visit.

Thanks 817Dreamliiner!
I’d love to try the LIAT D8. I was hoping to fly it to ANU or SXM but in the end I decided to just chill by the beach  .

Quoting 817Dreamliiner (Reply 5):
Never Heard of that one before... but then again I havent traveled too much around the Caribbean

My phone kept changing between Digicel and Chippie while I was in St.Kitts. What was interesting was that every time I received a phone call from Europe the quality of the sound was amazing. It was like receiving a call from the room next door…

Quoting 817Dreamliiner (Reply 5):
They have an FIDS????? ANU doesn't even have one! ANU please take note...

Yeah, in fact they have multiple FIDS both landside and airside. I’m surprised that ANU doesn’t have any!

Quoting SRQKEF (Reply 6):
Great report! St Kitts seems an amazing little country I would love to visit someday. Also, AA doesn't seem to be too bad.

Hi Sveinn thanks for your comments. Given how often you fly to Florida I think it would be easy to arrange a tour of some Caribbean islands including St.Kitts. I’m sure you’d love it.

Quoting SRQKEF (Reply 6):
Wow! Amazing photo. Love sunset photos from the air. Regards and happy new year! Sveinn


Happy New Year to you too Sveinn. And by the way, I’m a sucker for sunset photos too!

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 7):
I am glad that you enjoyed the islands! I only spent time on Nevis so I did not get to see any of St. Kitts except for the ride from the airport to the boat. Indeed AA looks awful. They could have so much potential and are so way behind the other US carriers (at least DL) in terms of AVOD, BOB service, etc. How easy it would be to offer a small snack on a three hour flight with maybe an island theme like a rum punch? You were lucky in immigration as it took me a good hour to clear but there were several jets there at the time. You are so correct with the hotel resorts. I have been all through the Caribbean and Mexico to resorts and every single one of them operate this way. People will leave a book or a hat or a magazine or bribe an employee and then show up after lunch or even at all to claim their cabana or chairs. It is really poor but that is how they all operate! Your pictures of all of the Florida airports and Caribbean islands were stunning (as always)!
Happy New Year I will lt you know when I am in Chicago next.

Hey Will! Happy New Year! First of all thank you for all the info you gave me about Nevis before I left for this trip!
I agree with everything you said. AA (and UA) are definitely a step behind DL with regard their service. Too bad that I have many more options with those two carriers out of ORD than I do with DL.
You are right about the resorts. This is what some of the others guests told us too. Like you said, you go there in order to relax but sometimes you simply can’t, mainly due to issues like the one with the cabanas. Apparently some resorts in Hawaii are on top of this and have rules that everyone is obliged to follow. Next time I need to go to a resort I’ll make sure to choose one that enforces such rules.
I’ll be waiting to hear from you next time you’re here!  .

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 8):
Great report with some great pictures of St. Kitts and Nevis. Thanks for sharing!
Those tropical islands looks like an excellent place to go to in order to escape cold Chicago!
Also some excellent shots along the way, great that you were able to identify all those islands!

Thanks Robert! I was very glad to escape Chicago for those 8-9 days. Apparently I missed a big snowstorm and some really chilly temperatures while I was away. Yikes!
As for the identification of the islands: I love geography and you’d often see me studying random maps in my free time. It was not difficult to identify most of them but nowadays with the use of wikimapia/googlemaps it is super easy to do a post-hoc identification when you land too.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 9):
Wow - fantastic report and super pics. What a lovely break away from the cold and snow in the midwest. I just loved the colour of the water there and your catamaran trip looked fantastic.

Hey mapleprop, thanks for stopping by! I loved the catamaran tour!

Quoting palmjet (Reply 9):
Nasty behaviour by fellow tourists trying to take ownership of the cabanas every day. When you're on holiday you don't want to stress about anything but this would have been downright annoying and I agree with you - I would have said something to the management as well.

Yeah, apparently it’s very common behavior unfortunately. Too bad the management does nothing about it.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 9):
I loved the pic of your 738 on the ground when you arrived - how idyllic and tropical. It reminded me in an abstract kinda way to a pic I saw many many years ago of an Air New Zealand DC10 at Pago Pago in American Samoa during sunset with Rainmaker mountain in the background. It was a picture that evoked so much feeling and atmosphere. You also captured that with your 738 at St Kitts.

Thanks! I took that photo in a hurry because I didn’t wanna stay too far behind everybody else in line for immigration. Glad you liked the final result! Off topic: Rainmaker is one hell of a name for a mountain. I forgot to mention that the main mountain in St.Kitts used to be called (until the 80s when they changed its name to Mt.Liamuiga – a native Carib name) Mt.Misery. Judging by the constant presence of clouds around it it’s not surprising they gave it such a name.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 9):
Good to see you were consistent, at least on the return flight, with "Paedoproximia Repetitiva Aerii". You will be pleased to note that I again suffered from this ailment on a DXB-LHR return in C. Yes, I found out that in reality "C" on BA actually stands for "creche" or "childcare class" given the number of tiny babies on board, who proceeded to scream and cry for 6 of the 7 or so hours we were in the air. There is a cure though - BOSE issued Noise Cancelling Headphones. Guaranteed to block out the sound of badly behaved children and screaming babies!

When traveling to/from a vacation destination it is inevitable that there would be a ton of kids around. I braced myself for it and I was happy that there were no babies near me in at least one of the 4 flights. BOSE NC-headphones would be a solution to P.R.A., maybe I should consider investing in a pair!



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6807 posts, RR: 77
Reply 11, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 12783 times:

Hi Stojan,

fantastic report full of stunning pictures! That's an amazing place to go, thanks for providing that insight!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
A comparison of legrooms at Economy and Economy Plus cabins:

Interesting comparison! Good idea.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
A beautiful SBA 757 (perhaps receiving a touch up on its fading paint-scheme?). Notice the 737 in AirOne's colors parked nearby.

One SBA 757 is stored at MIA, maybe that's the one. The ex-Air One 734 is most likely being converted to a freighter.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Holy hell... They have confused St.Kitts with Guadeloupe, St.Martin with Montserrat and Antigua with Dominica. Also St.Thomas, St. Croix and Tortola are all over the place. Come on AA!

Ah, that shouldn't happen. But that's still better than actually flying to the wrong island!  

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The 3 main brands of beer brewed in St.Kitts: Skol, Carib and Stag. Even though Carib is a Trinidadian brand the company has an additional brewery in St.Kitts.

Very cool!


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineMH017 From Netherlands, joined Apr 2005, 1691 posts, RR: 30
Reply 12, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 12571 times:

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 4):
I was there at the end of December. The photos of the cruiseships were taken on Dec 21st. Glad to hear that you had a good time too. Did you just stay for the day or did you stay longer?

Was there on 30nov with the "Vision of the Seas", and were docked for only a few hours between 8am and 5pm...had a beautiful view of the airport from deck 12 (like your AC Airbus landing), when sunbathing from 3-5pm ...  

When leaving port in the evening back to FLL, and just about 30mins. out, a group of 6 dolphins swam along the ship for about 5 mins (can you believe that ?); we were so thrilled to be able to experience that...

So, your TR brought back great memories  



don't throw away tomorrow !
User currently offlineIrishAyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2188 posts, RR: 15
Reply 13, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 12486 times:

Awesome TR man! Thanks for posting.

I am flying to MIA on Sunday morning. Your views from the descent prompted me to check my reservation to confirm that I have a seat on the left side of the plane. My friends want me to go to a Heat game as well, which I begrudgingly will probably do.

Tomorrow, I'm flying an AA 757. I never/rarely fly AA anymore, but maybe I can sneak into MCE. It looks fairly empty.

Flying to the Caribbean is always fun. When I flew PUJ-MIA back in 2010, I loved the Island photos, especially from the Bahamas.

The pics from the trip looked phenomenal! I've never been to SKB, but it looks like a great time. My favorite photo was the local weather station haha.

Finally, it is interesting that you caught the ATR leaving for SJU before it is finally withdrawn sometime later this year. It's really a shame that AA provides you next to nothing on the Caribbean flights.

It is freezing here in Chicago. Like you, I will be experiencing that same feeling in a week's time when it's back to reality.

Take care!

IrishAyes



next flights: jfk-icn, icn-hkg-bkk-cdg, cdg-phl-msp
User currently offlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1201 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 12434 times:

Very interesting.

I went to St Kitts in 1982 from New York to St Kitts nonstop on a PAN AM B727.

We then flew to Nevis on a tiny plane. The beach on Nevis was not so nice; rough and cold. The beach on St Kitts was nice.

I would like to visit Saba.

Thanks.


User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 15, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 12384 times:

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 11):
fantastic report full of stunning pictures! That's an amazing place to go, thanks for providing that insight!

Thanks PH!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 11):
Interesting comparison! Good idea.

The premium economy photo was of extremely bad quality so instead of posting it by itself I thought that I could hide its imperfections by making it smaller and sticking it next to the normal economy one. Only after doing so did I realize that this offered a nice comparison between the two classes.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 11):
One SBA 757 is stored at MIA, maybe that's the one. The ex-Air One 734 is most likely being converted to a freighter.

Thanks for clarifying this PH. Is there anything you don’t know?  .

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 11):
Ah, that shouldn't happen. But that's still better than actually flying to the wrong island!

True, that would be bad! I’m guessing that they confused Basseterre (which is the capital of St.Kitts) with Basse-Terre (one of the two main islands of Guadeloupe) and then they mislabeled all the nearby islands as a result of this mix-up. Truly amateur!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 11):
Very cool!

I love international beers! Those were actually pretty decent.

Quoting MH017 (Reply 12):
Was there on 30nov with the "Vision of the Seas", and were docked for only a few hours between 8am and 5pm...had a beautiful view of the airport from deck 12 (like your AC Airbus landing), when sunbathing from 3-5pm ...
When leaving port in the evening back to FLL, and just about 30mins. out, a group of 6 dolphins swam along the ship for about 5 mins (can you believe that ?); we were so thrilled to be able to experience that...

I love when dolphins do that! I have experienced this many times in the Aegean. It’s such a great feeling.

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 13):
Awesome TR man! Thanks for posting.

Thanks IrishAyes!

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 13):
I am flying to MIA on Sunday morning. Your views from the descent prompted me to check my reservation to confirm that I have a seat on the left side of the plane. My friends want me to go to a Heat game as well, which I begrudgingly will probably do.

Last time I flew to MIA (in Jan 2010, again on an AA 757) we flew along the west coast of Florida (over Tampa Bay) so I was lucky to be seated on the right hand side because that allowed me to see the coast. So it all depends in what route the pilots decide to take on that particular day.

I’ve been to a Heat game in Miami but that was the year before LeBron joined them so I didn’t hate them (as much) back then. The arena was half-empty (and even I decided to leave after the 3rd quarter).

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 13):
Flying to the Caribbean is always fun. When I flew PUJ-MIA back in 2010, I loved the Island photos, especially from the Bahamas.

You can’t beat the aerial views of the Bahamas! Hands down the prettiest waters in the north hemisphere, in my opinion.


Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 13):
The pics from the trip looked phenomenal! I've never been to SKB, but it looks like a great time. My favorite photo was the local weather station haha.

Finally, it is interesting that you caught the ATR leaving for SJU before it is finally withdrawn sometime later this year. It's really a shame that AA provides you next to nothing on the Caribbean flights.

Thanks! I loved the weather station too! . Indeed it’s a shame that the service is so poor… I didn’t know about the withdrawal of the ATR. I’m glad I caught it then.

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 13):
It is freezing here in Chicago. Like you, I will be experiencing that same feeling in a week's time when it's back to reality.

Enjoy your time down south and thanks for your comments!

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 14):

Very interesting.
I went to St Kitts in 1982 from New York to St Kitts nonstop on a PAN AM B727. We then flew to Nevis on a tiny plane. The beach on Nevis was not so nice; rough and cold. The beach on St Kitts was nice. I would like to visit Saba.
Thanks.

Hey lychemsa! I think AA flies from JFK to SKB non-stop too but I’m not sure about the frequency. We didn’t explore Nevis too much but the beach we were on (Pinney’s Beach) was much better than the one on Frigate Bay in St.Kitts. I’d love to visit Saba too. It just looks so cool and with a runway that is only 400m long it would be a thrill to land there!

[Edited 2013-01-02 13:21:37]


Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineadamspotter From Netherlands, joined Feb 2011, 1161 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 12358 times:
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Hi WBG!

Another fantastic and entertaining report with many great pictures, thanks! I surely enjoyed it  
Looks like you had a great vacation in St.Kitts & Nevis, it looks like a beautiful island for sure!
I have had the same kind of experiences with AA like you, some good some bad. Here they dont look all too good, shame about the 4 delays!


Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
A comparison of legrooms at Economy and Economy Plus cabins

Very interesting comparison, quite a difference

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
A movie was shown on the overhead monitors but (due to the fact that they were placed over the aisle - see photo below) I couldn't see them clearly from my window seat.

That must have been a pain, allthough the beautiful views outside made up for it

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Sunrise somewhere over Kentucky

Breathtaking!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Along the way those of us seated on the right side of the aircraft were treated to the sight of numerous coastal airport facilities, including those of Cape Canaveral

Nice catches, simply great!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Our layover at MIA was meant to be just over 3 hours long which was barely enough time to allow us to go through immigration, collect our bags, go through customs, drop the bags off again and then go past security. You gotta love how domestic connections work in the US when you arrive from abroad...

I have a 1 hour layover when flying into JFK and on to ATL in January!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Earlier in the flight our pilot had triumphantly announced to us that we would be arriving 15 minutes early at MIA but once we touched down he told us that there were no gates available for us so we had to wait until the aircraft that occupied our assigned gate had departed. He said that this should take 10 or 15 minutes. Unfortunately we ended up waiting a full hour before we were allowed to disembark

Had the same experience at ORD last November. The pilot said 15 mins and we eventually waited for 1,5 hours!

Thanks once again for putting this together, really enjoyed it!

cheers,

Brendan


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3269 posts, RR: 12
Reply 17, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 12274 times:

Very nice report Stojan - I'm sure I could do with a nice trip to the Carribean! I must say, AA really didn't have a wow factor at all. It seems like they've done their utmost to remove any plesaure from flying...so sad.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I simply did not expect AA to screw something as simple as that. No brownie points for you AA.

Very poor

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):

In an extreme act of generosity this Christmas my parents-in-law decided to take my wife, her brother and myself to a Caribbean vacation with them

Well, great, as long as you get on well with the in laws!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
A movie was shown on the overhead monitors but (due to the fact that they were placed over the aisle - see photo below) I couldn't see them clearly from my window seat.

That's so bad....why install a monitor that +30% of the passengers can't see properly?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
In what its parents thought to be a cute and charming playful behavior the kid would turn around and try to reach for my cup of water and/or my face on multiple occasions. Good times.

Urgh, I hate this. Parents often are so oblivous to other people not wanting their children in their faces.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
This being North America no free food (not even peanuts) was served on this flight despite being an international one of ~3 hours.

Maybe I shouldn't complain so much about the BA Club Europe catering!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
(Not so) Marriott Christmas

That resort doesn't sound too great. Shame they had such issues with the cabanas. Some people are just so rude. Why deny someone a public facility all day if you are only going to turn up at 1.30pm? Surely the hotel should instigate a booking system?



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:MAN-LHR-ARN-OSL-TOS-LYR-OSL-CPH-LHR,LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-TPE-
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 18, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 11964 times:

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 16):
Another fantastic and entertaining report with many great pictures, thanks! I surely enjoyed it
Looks like you had a great vacation in St.Kitts & Nevis, it looks like a beautiful island for sure!
I have had the same kind of experiences with AA like you, some good some bad. Here they dont look all too good, shame about the 4 delays!

Hey Brendan, thanks!

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 16):
Very interesting comparison, quite a difference

Yeah, I wonder what is the difference in price because it may worth paying the extra bucks for so much extra room!

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 16):
Nice catches, simply great!

It was crazy. One airport after another kept showing up. It was like I found myself at airport boulevard.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 16):
I have a 1 hour layover when flying into JFK and on to ATL in January!

Ouch! Are you sure you can make it? Will you be checking any luggage?

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 16):
Had the same experience at ORD last November. The pilot said 15 mins and we eventually waited for 1,5 hours!

Ouch again! I shouldn't complain too much then...

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 17):
Very nice report Stojan - I'm sure I could do with a nice trip to the Carribean! I must say, AA really didn't have a wow factor at all. It seems like they've done their utmost to remove any plesaure from flying...so sad.

Hey gabriel, thanks! Yeah AA has stripped down its service to the bare minimum. What they offer is a bus service on wings. And given your experience with Megabus (London to Glasgow was it?) even bus services offer more than AA sometimes.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 17):
Very poor

Indeed!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 17):
That's so bad....why install a monitor that +30% of the passengers can't see properly?

A person shorter than me could have perhaps been able to see the monitors better. But even so it would not have been comfortable to watch anything in them due to the angle.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 17):
Urgh, I hate this. Parents often are so oblivous to other people not wanting their children in their faces.

Agreed. Some parents are totally oblivious. Fortunately these are just a minority.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 17):
Maybe I shouldn't complain so much about the BA Club Europe catering!

Yeah, you guys in Europe have it good  .

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 17):
That resort doesn't sound too great. Shame they had such issues with the cabanas. Some people are just so rude. Why deny someone a public facility all day if you are only going to turn up at 1.30pm? Surely the hotel should instigate a booking system?

You would think that this is an easy-to-solve problem. Not sure why the resort did such a poor job managing it. I just wrote a review about my experience on tripadvisor and I was (not) surprised to see other people complaining about the same thing. Why does the resort do nothing is beyond me... They are obviously aware of the problem.



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 15
Reply 19, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 11774 times:

Hi Stojan


Great report, thanks for sharing! I did not realize that AA has followed the UA/DL leage by installing economy + as well.
St Kitts looks very nice, want to go there one day!

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Reply 20, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 11753 times:

What a neat report with fantastic pictures!

Made my day, thanks.

Regards
BrusselsSouth


User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 21, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 11627 times:

Two consecutive responses from Belgium! Do I hear a third? . Thanks guys!

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 19):
Hi Stojan

Great report, thanks for sharing! I did not realize that AA has followed the UA/DL leage by installing economy + as well.
St Kitts looks very nice, want to go there one day!

Greetings
Marc

I wasn't aware of it either, Marc. I rarely follow what cabins the various carriers offer because I've never flown anything but cattle class...


Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 20):
What a neat report with fantastic pictures!
Made my day, thanks.
Regards
BrusselsSouth

Thanks BrusselsSouth! Glad you enjoyed the report  . It gives me great pleasure to know that it was appreciated.



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineCARST From Germany, joined Jul 2006, 820 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 11608 times:

Hey Widebodyroga what a fantastic report!

Haven't been to the Caribbean since the early 90ies (not counting Florida and the Keys) and your photos definitely make me want to get back.

Too bad you were so disappointed with AA this time. They seem to be very hit or miss these days going by the reports here and what the press is writing about them. The whole Chapter 11 experience can't be nice for all employees, but I think they should try harder to satisfy the passengers. Hope your next flights will be on time as well.


User currently offlineLFutia From Netherlands, joined Dec 2002, 3339 posts, RR: 27
Reply 23, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 11531 times:

Zdrasti Stojan!

BEAUTIFUL trip report. Shame about American though. I am definitely jealous you went somewhere warm while it snowed here in Chicago. Your pictures were suburb. What kind of camera?

Leo/ORD



Leo/ORD -- Groetjes uit de VS! -- Heeft u laatst nog met KLM gevlogen?
User currently offlineadamspotter From Netherlands, joined Feb 2011, 1161 posts, RR: 3
Reply 24, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 11429 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 18):

Ouch! Are you sure you can make it? Will you be checking any luggage?

Well come ot think of it I got a schedule change the other day giving me 2h3mins.. Guess it all depends on if I get the "special treatment" I always seem to get once entering the USA. Nevertheless if I dont make it it is all booked on 1 ticket and they will put me on the next flight..


User currently offlineCaptainRed From Germany, joined Oct 2010, 684 posts, RR: 20
Reply 25, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 11412 times:

Hi Stojan,

what a great report again from your hands. Brings a little sunshine into our current gray and dull weather   ...

St.Kitts and Nevis really looks awesome, looks like a very cool place for a nice vacation and some time to relax away from it all. Too bad that you missed the flight on the Twin Otter, that would have been the sugar on an already great holiday.

Also like your inflight pictures on the MIA-SKB leg, all these islands and a little airport on almost all of them.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
A comparison of legrooms at Economy and Economy Plus cabins:

Wow, quite a difference, at least a little compensation for the seating problems for your wife.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Sunrise somewhere over Kentucky

Nice one, who needs a movie anyway with views like this.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Also St.Thomas, St. Croix and Tortola are all over the place. Come on AA!

I really don't understand this, I mean it cannot be too hard to look up these places on a map once before this goes to print. Really gives a bad impression.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
However, what guests would do was to either leave their towels/bags there from the night before or bribe some of the staff to "claim" a cabana for them first thing in the morning (by placing their towels there).

Oh dear, that's the behaviour you usually associate with the German package tourists in places like Mallorca or the like   ... Would never expect that at a rather upscale holiday resort.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Back to snowy Chicago

What a contrast   ...

Thanks for this report
CaptainRed


User currently offlinesultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1716 posts, RR: 30
Reply 26, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 11381 times:
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Hello Stojan,

Wow, this was some seriously good stuff my friend. Nice narrative, excellent photography and an attractive destination. Need to say no more   AA however does what it does best: being mediocre at best...

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
This made me drool like a Pavlov dog.

Oh yes, I can imagine these intra island flights being fantastic for sightseeing as suggested by your pics of some.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
but I then realized that this was meant to be a family vacation

Well, sometimes we have to make some sacrifices here and there. But by the looks of it, I don't think they were regrettable?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Nonetheless my theory is that you can never arrive too early at an airport

Same opinion here. Always something exciting going on at an airport. Well, almost sometimes...

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
After having dealt with the nudoscope

The public demands some pics!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
so how on earth did AA manage to ignore our pre-selected seats is beyond me

And beyond me as well. I hope you did not pay for those or else you should have pulled the checkin agent over the counter, Bulgarian style 

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
This gave her the opportunity to enjoy a seat-pitch massively superior to mine.

You are way too much of a gentleman   I mean: women are in general smaller than men and yet you give here the better seat?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Holy hell... They have confused St.Kitts with Guadeloupe, St.Martin with Montserrat and Antigua with Dominica. Also St.Thomas, St. Croix and Tortola are all over the place. Come on AA!

I guess the geographist of AA only finished his primary school...

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
However nothing changed for the remainder of our stay there.

As expected.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Weather station

Hilarious. I hope you had a coconut tree in your neighbourhood then?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
To the right the Atlantic ,to the left the Caribbean

So did you notice a difference in water temperature?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Unfortunately we ended up waiting a full hour before we were allowed to disembark.

A full hour. And what about people with tight connections?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Time to play with the camera

Looooong exposure  

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 27, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 10914 times:

Thanks for your comments fellas!

Quoting CARST (Reply 22):
Hey Widebodyroga what a fantastic report!

Haven't been to the Caribbean since the early 90ies (not counting Florida and the Keys) and your photos definitely make me want to get back.

Too bad you were so disappointed with AA this time. They seem to be very hit or miss these days going by the reports here and what the press is writing about them. The whole Chapter 11 experience can't be nice for all employees, but I think they should try harder to satisfy the passengers. Hope your next flights will be on time as well.


Thanks CARST! This was my first time in the Caribbean-proper (I've been to the Bahamas before but strictly speaking they are not part of the Caribbean archipelago even though they are part of it culturally) and I loved it. I didn't expect too much out of AA to be honest. however the fact that they treated the flight just like any other domestic and the numerous delays that we experience kinda left me disappointed.


Quoting LFutia (Reply 23):
Zdrasti Stojan!

BEAUTIFUL trip report. Shame about American though. I am definitely jealous you went somewhere warm while it snowed here in Chicago. Your pictures were suburb. What kind of camera?

Leo/ORD


Zdravei Leo! Blagodaria! I'm sorry I abandoned you guys to suffer the cold but I kinda needed it. This summer was really busy at work so I had to compensate for all the sunshine got to miss in July/August.

I used two cameras in this trip. Most photos from inside the aircrafts were taken with my point-n-shoot Samsung TL240 (you can tell which ones they are because they are a bit elongated, while all the rest were taken with my Nikon D3100.


Quoting adamspotter (Reply 24):

Well come to think of it I got a schedule change the other day giving me 2h3mins.. Guess it all depends on if I get the "special treatment" I always seem to get once entering the USA. Nevertheless if I don't make it it is all booked on 1 ticket and they will put me on the next flight..


You're golden then.  . Hopefully you won't get the special treatment this time...


Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 25):
what a great report again from your hands. Brings a little sunshine into our current gray and dull weather ...


Thanks Captain! I'm glad my report warmed you all up a little bit  .


Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 25):
St.Kitts and Nevis really looks awesome, looks like a very cool place for a nice vacation and some time to relax away from it all. Too bad that you missed the flight on the Twin Otter, that would have been the sugar on an already great holiday.

Also like your inflight pictures on the MIA-SKB leg, all these islands and a little airport on almost all of them.


Yeah, no regrets for not going ahead with the Otter but I wonder if I'll get another chance.

I love islands (to the point of a fetish) and the fact that most of them in the Caribbean (and not only) have an airport makes them even more appealing to me. Overall I cannot recall another trip were I saw so many airports (from my window) in such a short period of time. What a treat.


Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 25):
Wow, quite a difference, at least a little compensation for the seating problems for your wife.


Yeah, when I saw her switching seats I felt sorry for her but when I found out later where she got to sit I wasn't feeling so sorry anymore! .


Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 25):
I really don't understand this, I mean it cannot be too hard to look up these places on a map once before this goes to print. Really gives a bad impression.


I know, right? How hard can it be? I'm gonna send them and e-mail this weekend. Let's see if they do anything about it.


Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 25):
Oh dear, that's the behaviour you usually associate with the German package tourists in places like Mallorca or the like ... Would never expect that at a rather upscale holiday resort.


Really? I guess I haven't had the chance to coincide with any German package tourists in my trips so far. I wouldn't have expected such a behavior from them. In our case it was certain Southern Europeans and some Fraternity-style guys from the US that were the main culprits...


Quoting sultanils (Reply 26):

Hello Stojan,

Wow, this was some seriously good stuff my friend. Nice narrative, excellent photography and an attractive destination. Need to say no more AA however does what it does best: being mediocre at best...


Thanks man, it was a great trip. With AA not facing any major competition in these routes it was perhaps not surprising that they didn't put any effort into wowing their clients…


Quoting sultanils (Reply 26):
Oh yes, I can imagine these intra island flights being fantastic for sightseeing as suggested by your pics of some.


Definitely!


Quoting sultanils (Reply 26):
Well, sometimes we have to make some sacrifices here and there. But by the looks of it, I don't think they were regrettable?


No, by no means.  .


Quoting sultanils (Reply 26):
The public demands some pics!


Contact the ORD T.S.A., I’m sure they have them somewhere on file .


Quoting sultanils (Reply 26):
And beyond me as well. I hope you did not pay for those or else you should have pulled the checkin agent over the counter, Bulgarian style


Hehe, no I hadn’t paid anything for them. Too bad i didn't notice the change until we went past security (usually I check my boarding passes right away but not this time). Had I noticed it while still at the check in counter she would have experience my bulgarian wrath indeed...           .


Quoting sultanils (Reply 26):
You are way too much of a gentleman I mean: women are in general smaller than men and yet you give here the better seat?


At the time I was not aware that she was heading to an economy premium seat (she was probably 15 or more rows ahead of me so I couldn’t see). If I knew about it I would have bargain it from her .


Quoting sultanils (Reply 26):
I guess the geographist of AA only finished his primary school...


It’s pure laziness I think. It only takes a click to double check your map online.


Quoting sultanils (Reply 26):
Hilarious. I hope you had a coconut tree in your neighbourhood then?


Hehe, fortunately the “weather station” was visible from our balcony so I could get weather updates hourly!


Quoting sultanils (Reply 26):
So did you notice a difference in water temperature?


Actually allow me to correct myself. In that photo the Atlantic was on the LEFT and the Caribbean on the RIGHT. Maybe I’m biased but I thought that the Caribbean was slightly warmer. However every time I swam on the Caribbean side it was in the middle of the day (hottest part of the day) so perhaps my sampling was not fair? In any case if there was a difference in temperature it wasn’t great.


Quoting sultanils (Reply 26):
A full hour. And what about people with tight connections?


I guess they were screwed given that it was kinda later in the day. They probably got stuck in MIA.


Quoting sultanils (Reply 26):
Looooong exposure


You gotta love long exposure photos. My father-in-law got some really nice photos of the stars (using long exposure) with his camera. The skies were full of stars every night.



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineairkas1 From Netherlands, joined Dec 2003, 3992 posts, RR: 55
Reply 28, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 10853 times:

Great report and I loved the photos!

User currently offlinejsnww81 From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2036 posts, RR: 15
Reply 29, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 10776 times:

Hi Stojan, nice work on this one! I haven't been to St Kitts but it's definitely on my list.

Glad your flights on AA were generally good. They're my primary airline but (like all US carriers) the experience can be highly variable. It can range from incredible to really miserable. Particularly when flying in or out of MIA, where the staff are either a.) extremely friendly and accommodating or b.) hostile and dismissive. There never seems to be any middle ground with American in Miami.

Agree completely with your observations on the maps in American Way. I've been waiting for them to update those diagrams for years. I wish they'd put in a proper route map (with lines) instead of all those boring unconnected dots. They've had "destination maps" instead of "route maps" since I was a little kid, so I'm not holding my breath. They did just redesign the airport diagrams, and I'm hoping with their upcoming rebranding that maybe they'll take a look at the other maps as well.

Your complaints about the Marriott were not surprising. A few years ago I stayed at the Westin on St. Maarten and had many of the same issues, and I recall the same problems at the Marriott on St. Thomas when I was there more than 10 years ago. Large chain resorts in the Caribbean know that guests will keep coming no matter how bad things are, so many of them simply are not service-oriented. Part of the reason I haven't traveled more in the Caribbean is that (I'm generalizing hugely here, but it seems to be true) I find that the people in the islands are often rude and resentful toward tourists. This doesn't happen nearly as often in Hawaii or Mexico, so I've elected to spend more time there.


User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5090 posts, RR: 55
Reply 30, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 10737 times:

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
So what do I have to say about the whole experience? Let's start with AA. I've been flying with them a lot in recent years (both domestically and internationally) and I have experienced both good and bad moments with them. Well, in this particular case I have to say that AA left a lot to be desired. All 4 flights were delayed, even though not always through AA's fault. The cabins were not terribly clean even though it must be said that they were not as bad as what I experienced recently with WN. I simply can't help it but also mention the terrible mislabeling of some Caribbean islands on their American Way magazine maps. This is simply inexcusable. There was also that inexplicable mix-up with our seats on the ORD-MIA leg. On a positive note I must say that the crew was rather friendly (despite having been recently voted as the rudest among all north american carriers: Link)

As for the destination, St.Kitts and Nevis is a lovely little country that is definitely worth a visit not just for its beaches but also for the cultural experiences that it can offer. The people are friendly, it is not too terribly expensive (as long as you stay away from big-name resorts) and the temperatures in December are just perfect. I'd love to go back one day and perhaps try to fly to NEV this time.


Thank you for reading. For those who love animals I have added some bonus material from the island's fauna. Enjoy.

= I think you hit the nail on the head with American. They seem to have lost their way and my recent interactions wiht their customer service professionals have all been rather poor. It is like they take pride in making simple requests complicated. It is amazing to me how little you received (in terms of snack, etc.) during the flights. I find it strange that in the U.S., full service airlines provide less than their LCC counterparts!

By the way, I avoid MIA airport like a plague. Most of the agents are inefficient and rude, and you pray not to be stuck behind arrivals from certain Latin countries.

St. Kitts looks awesome however. I hope to make it this winter.

Thanks again for sharing.

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineflightsimboy From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1268 posts, RR: 4
Reply 31, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 10594 times:
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Hi Stojan,

Another great report though not a real long haul, but a good glimpse into AA. Very upsetting about your delays and the fact nothing is ever served on these flights. A real shame really!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
In an extreme act of generosity this Christmas my parents-in-law decided to take my wife, her brother and myself to a Caribbean vacation with them.

Very generous indeed.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
At this point I realized that despite the fact that we had pre-selected our seats online (so that the 5 of us could be together and on the same row) AA had somehow managed to separate some of us. We were the first ones to check-in and there was no equipment change so how on earth did AA manage to ignore our pre-selected seats is beyond me.

Why even have pre-assigned seats when they do not plan to let you keep them!! Frustrating.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Cabin view. I could hardly see the overhead monitors from my seat.

Ha,ha, and now monitors on board that one cannot even see....what's wrong with AA? lol. Hopefully you did not have to pay for the headphones.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Descending over downtown Miami

Gorgeous view!!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Taxiing to the gate next to a maintenance facility

For a moment I almost thought you guys were going to park in there lol

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Finals over some colorful houses

Newly constructed homes being built or either that they have had their roofs blown off!!!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Our 737 parked at SKB's apron

Looks like a diorama!!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Weather station

Cute lol

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Drunken photography inspiration while on our balcony, using the plaza lights and the pool as my subjects.

Was just reading about this kind of photography this afternoon

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Walking to our aircraft. Notice the guy waving at me not to shoot photos.

Paranoia exists in these tranquil locations too...oh wait it was an American aircraft....!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Waiting for over an hour on the taxiway after landing. Getting seriously bored here. Time to play with the camera

An hour on the taxiway...unacceptable.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
BONUS MATERIAL: ISLAND FAUNA

And finally a word on the photographs!! Absolutely wonderful pics with some interesting captures of "life" as it unfolds. Keep these photos coming!!! A wonderful glimpse into the island and it's breathtaking beauty it has to offer.


User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1937 posts, RR: 24
Reply 32, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 10411 times:
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Great report, Widebodyroga!

What a fun trip it looks like you had - St. Kitts looks awesome! The weather looked beautiful.

Thanks for sharing!

Matthew


User currently offlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1201 posts, RR: 3
Reply 33, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 10366 times:

If you like nice beaches; calm and clear; much better than St Kitts / Nevis I suggest:

Anguilla
Grand Cayman
Turks and Caicos
Paradise Island Bahamas

Thanks for your report.


User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 34, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 10109 times:

Thanks for the additional comments guys.  .

Quoting airkas1 (Reply 28):
Great report and I loved the photos!

Thanks airkas1. I appreciate it!

Quoting jsnww81 (Reply 29):
Hi Stojan, nice work on this one!

Hey J, thanks!

Quoting jsnww81 (Reply 29):
Glad your flights on AA were generally good. They're my primary airline but (like all US carriers) the experience can be highly variable. It can range from incredible to really miserable. Particularly when flying in or out of MIA, where the staff are either a.) extremely friendly and accommodating or b.) hostile and dismissive. There never seems to be any middle ground with American in Miami.

Indeed, it seems like this is the case for all 3 major US carriers these days. Depending on the day and crew experiences can vary dramatically. The same applies for MIA too.

Quoting jsnww81 (Reply 29):
Agree completely with your observations on the maps in American Way. I've been waiting for them to update those diagrams for years. I wish they'd put in a proper route map (with lines) instead of all those boring unconnected dots. They've had "destination maps" instead of "route maps" since I was a little kid, so I'm not holding my breath. They did just redesign the airport diagrams, and I'm hoping with their upcoming rebranding that maybe they'll take a look at the other maps as well.

That's a good point actually. It must be said though that even when routes are indicated by lines it's sometimes hard to follow them (a simple look at UA's or DL's maps is enough to give you a headache; it's pretty much impossible to follow those lines, especially when you have 150 lines emerging from each of your 3-4 hubs).

Quoting jsnww81 (Reply 29):
Your complaints about the Marriott were not surprising. A few years ago I stayed at the Westin on St. Maarten and had many of the same issues, and I recall the same problems at the Marriott on St. Thomas when I was there more than 10 years ago. Large chain resorts in the Caribbean know that guests will keep coming no matter how bad things are, so many of them simply are not service-oriented. Part of the reason I haven't traveled more in the Caribbean is that (I'm generalizing hugely here, but it seems to be true) I find that the people in the islands are often rude and resentful toward tourists. This doesn't happen nearly as often in Hawaii or Mexico, so I've elected to spend more time there.

That's interesting. The locals at St.Kitts were friendly but I kinda also agree with what you said. I think they are tired of the tourists even if their income depends 95% from them. The folks in the Bahamas were more genuinely friendly I feel. I haven't been to Mexico (and only been to Hawaii once for 3 days) so I can't make any comparisons.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 30):
= I think you hit the nail on the head with American. They seem to have lost their way and my recent interactions wiht their customer service professionals have all been rather poor. It is like they take pride in making simple requests complicated. It is amazing to me how little you received (in terms of snack, etc.) during the flights. I find it strange that in the U.S., full service airlines provide less than their LCC counterparts!

Hey Alex, I'm glad you agree with me. I've been saying it for a long time now: In the US, for most part, the so called "LCCs" like WN are far superior to legacy carriers.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 30):
By the way, I avoid MIA airport like a plague. Most of the agents are inefficient and rude, and you pray not to be stuck behind arrivals from certain Latin countries.

MIA has entered my black list too.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 30):
St. Kitts looks awesome however. I hope to make it this winter.
Thanks again for sharing.

Thanks Alex. I hope you make it there too and I'd love to hear what you thought of the place.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 31):
Hi Stojan,

Another great report though not a real long haul, but a good glimpse into AA. Very upsetting about your delays and the fact nothing is ever served on these flights. A real shame really!

Thanks flightsimboy! I agree completely!

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 31):
Why even have pre-assigned seats when they do not plan to let you keep them!! Frustrating.

Exactly! It annoys me beyond words when airlines do that for no good reason (for example, change of aircraft).

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 31):
Ha,ha, and now monitors on board that one cannot even see....what's wrong with AA? lol. Hopefully you did not have to pay for the headphones.

No I didn't pay for headphones thankfully! Those monitors are a huge pain in the backside to watch for those seated by the windows.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 31):
For a moment I almost thought you guys were going to park in there lol

For a moment I was kinda thinking the same myself, haha. I was like "where the hell are we heading to"?

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 31):
Newly constructed homes being built or either that they have had their roofs blown off!!!

I'm glad you brought this up. The island was scattered with what looked like either half-finished houses or houses that had suffered from a hurricane. Sometimes it wasn't easy to tell. Also the island is absolutely packed with abandoned cars. You would see them parked by the edge of the road, without their wheels, rusting away, often among overgrown bushes.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 31):
Looks like a diorama!!

Haha, it kind of does.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 31):
Paranoia exists in these tranquil locations too...oh wait it was an American aircraft....!

I though that they would be cool about taking photos (everyone was so relaxed in St.Kitts after all) so I was taken aback a little bit.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 31):
And finally a word on the photographs!! Absolutely wonderful pics with some interesting captures of "life" as it unfolds. Keep these photos coming!!! A wonderful glimpse into the island and it's breathtaking beauty it has to offer.

More photos as per your request!  .


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_0615_zps01d5cfcf.jpg
Another interesting beach find

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0085_zpsb71542bf.jpg
Sunrise over our resort

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0073-1_zpsfe3c7dbe.jpg
Another local commuter heading for the sun

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0052-3_zps172361ae.jpg
Belfry of Basseterre's Anglican church

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_0247_zps2d3ba135.jpg
One more shot of Saba. What you see here in fact is the highest peak in the Kingdom of Netherlands (Mount Scenery, 877m high), almost 3 times higher than Vaalserberg, the highest point in mainland Netherlands.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0034-1_zps59f68455.jpg
The wooden belfry of Basseterre;s Methodist church

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0658-2_zpsb9e7b3ee.jpg
Detail of a Brimstone Hill Fortress canon

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0634-2_zpsf6beebdd.jpg
Stairs heading to the Brimstone Hill Fortress Citadel

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0553_zps4ae3d59b.jpg
Colorful Romney manor house

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0515_zpsdf5a6c5c.jpg
That's one happy-faced shark

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0493_zps7d9e0a33.jpg
North Frigate Bay

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0477_zps67b549cc.jpg
Local tour bus

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0387_zpsfdc4e8b7.jpg
More boats at Nevis

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0371-1_zps19fd2683.jpg
Fishermen at Nevis

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0364_zpsd3571862.jpg
Looking toward St.Kitts from Pinney's Beach on Nevis

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0314_zpsd8de47ba.jpg
Nevis peak


Clear waters

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0140-1_zpse1adfc28.jpg
A shipwreck survivor's vessel?

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0278-1_zps3fcc750e.jpg
The only other island in the federation of St. KItts and Nevis is the tiny Booby island located in the narrow channel between the two main islands. The waters were kinda choppy here so I could not shoot a straight photo.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 32):
Great report, Widebodyroga!
What a fun trip it looks like you had - St. Kitts looks awesome! The weather looked beautiful.

Hey Mathew, thanks man! It was a lot of fun, no doubt about that!

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 33):

If you like nice beaches; calm and clear; much better than St Kitts / Nevis I suggest:

Anguilla
Grand Cayman
Turks and Caicos
Paradise Island Bahamas

Thanks for your report.

Hey lychemsa,

We knew that St.Kitts doesn't have the best beaches in the Caribbean (you can never expect that from a volcanic island after all). Anguilla is high on our list (Cap Juluca specifically is a place that my wife would love to visit) just like the Turks and Caicos (specifically one of the Caicos islands). As for the Bahamas, I think that even better than Paradise Island's beaches are the ones in the Out Islands (Exumas, Long Island, Andros, etc). Plenty of cool places in that part of the world .



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlinerogerbcn From Andorra, joined Sep 2006, 1209 posts, RR: 20
Reply 35, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 10085 times:

Hola Stojan!

That was a lovely TR.

Really crisp pictures and love all the islands one can see in a trip over the Caribbean.

St. Kitts looks really a great place, nice to escape the wind and cold of Chicago in winter.

AA seems to have lived up to the expectations, despite the seat change in the first flight. Their planes look a little bit old though, I have flown them last time about 5 years ago and the planes looked exactly the same, it is about time they start doing something to those interiors.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Holy hell... They have confused St.Kitts with Guadeloupe, St.Martin with Montserrat and Antigua with Dominica. Also St.Thomas, St. Croix and Tortola are all over the place. Come on AA!

That's amazing, but when I lived in Panama I flew Continental to/from IAH and their maps did not show Cuba, that was back in the 80s, but still quite surprising.

Salut! Have a great flying year!

Roger



"At reise er at leve" H.C. Andersen (Travelling is Living)
User currently offlinedc9northwest From Switzerland, joined Feb 2007, 2292 posts, RR: 7
Reply 36, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 9969 times:

Hello hello Mr. Stojan,

Just got back to Chicago and gonna post some comments on this journey of yours to the Caribbean. Leeward or Windward, don't know, as my memory fails me now. I've read our report while on my travels but no time for comments, sorry!

Anyway, a great adventure. SKN... Yes, I remember some Romanian commentator not knowing what the hell SKN was when the national hero you mentioned won one of his races. I was shouting at the TV  

American... yes, what can I say. You know my thoughts on them already. Good that you didn't have to spend the night in a hotel during your transits in MIA. You can never put it past them...

St. Kitts. Sure, I'd love to step foot there, but what is it with no internet?.. That's not part of my travel procedures! OK, I don't necessarily spend long on the internet on vacation, but how else am I gonna keep 1) entertained and 2) informed of what to do while there.

We should meet up now that I'm finally back. I'll fb message you.


User currently offlineflightsimboy From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1268 posts, RR: 4
Reply 37, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 9945 times:
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Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 34):
More photos as per your request! .

Hey thanks. Always enjoy looking at pics of places such as these. I'm starting to like the Nikon photos...just invested in a Canon, my first DSLR lol


User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1301 posts, RR: 4
Reply 38, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 9513 times:

Stojan,

What a great report! One of the better ones I've read. Great pictures, story and destination. SKB has always interested me - not sure why. Maybe the fact its a pretty small airport yet has a regular BA777 service. Also seen a VS 744 depart from there before.

Good to see what AA are like from ORD. I'll be experiencing that myself in a few months.

I'd love to get back to the Caribbean some day - but based on my previous visits, I find its best to travel there with family. Not so good as a solo traveller in my opinion.



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User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 39, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 22 hours ago) and read 9092 times:

Quoting rogerbcn (Reply 35):
Hola Stojan!
That was a lovely TR.
Really crisp pictures and love all the islands one can see in a trip over the Caribbean.
St. Kitts looks really a great place, nice to escape the wind and cold of Chicago in winter.

Thank you Roger, I appreciate it! We are expecting -5C in Chicago tomorrow. It's going to make me miss St.Kitts even more  .

Quoting rogerbcn (Reply 35):
AA seems to have lived up to the expectations, despite the seat change in the first flight. Their planes look a little bit old though, I have flown them last time about 5 years ago and the planes looked exactly the same, it is about time they start doing something to those interiors.

Yes indeed. As I said I was not expecting too much from them. The aircraft did show their age for sure just like you said. This is particularly the case with many of AA's 737s.

Quoting rogerbcn (Reply 35):
That's amazing, but when I lived in Panama I flew Continental to/from IAH and their maps did not show Cuba, that was back in the 80s, but still quite surprising.

Salut! Have a great flying year!

Interesting. I'm not sure what's worse: Creating inaccurate/incomplete maps due to political reasons/propaganda or due to negligence? .

Thanks again Roger and have a great flying (and not only) year too!

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 36):
Hello hello Mr. Stojan,

Just got back to Chicago and gonna post some comments on this journey of yours to the Caribbean. Leeward or Windward, don't know, as my memory fails me now. I've read our report while on my travels but no time for comments, sorry!

Hey hey Mr. Alex! Reading TRs while on the road it's tough. You don't wanna waste too much time reading all the details or commenting when you're supposed to be having fun and collecting material for your own TRs  . Unless of course you're stuck at an airport with 6+ hours till boarding with nothing else to do!

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 36):
Anyway, a great adventure. SKN... Yes, I remember some Romanian commentator not knowing what the hell SKN was when the national hero you mentioned won one of his races. I was shouting at the TV

Hehe, I'm not surprised. Most people have never heard of the place. Track and Field commentators however have no excuse...

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 36):
American... yes, what can I say. You know my thoughts on them already. Good that you didn't have to spend the night in a hotel during your transits in MIA. You can never put it past them...

Yeah that's how AA is unfortunately. I'm curious to see what happens to them in the next few months with regard to their financial situation and the merging scenarios that we've been hearing about.

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 36):
St. Kitts. Sure, I'd love to step foot there, but what is it with no internet?.. That's not part of my travel procedures! OK, I don't necessarily spend long on the internet on vacation, but how else am I gonna keep 1) entertained and 2) informed of what to do while there.

Well my wife and I decided to detox from the internet, plus we didn't wanna have to carry a laptop with us. The Marriott was charging $12.5 per day per device for internet. I don't get it when hotels charge for internet nowadays...

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 37):
Hey thanks. Always enjoy looking at pics of places such as these. I'm starting to like the Nikon photos...just invested in a Canon, my first DSLR lol

Thanks again flightsimboy! Congrats on the new purchase! I hope your new Canon serves you well. I'd love to see some photos taken with it in your next TR!

Stojan



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User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26980 posts, RR: 57
Reply 40, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 9082 times:

Hey Stojan  

Great report . Sorry you had some issues with AA . Valid points you raise.

Lovely pictures from the Caribbean ! Somewhere I wish I was now  

Very nice of your in laws to take you there too.

Regards

Philip  


User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 41, posted (1 year 8 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 8833 times:

Quoting OA260 (Reply 40):
Hey Stojan  

Great report . Sorry you had some issues with AA . Valid points you raise.

Lovely pictures from the Caribbean ! Somewhere I wish I was now  

Very nice of your in laws to take you there too.

Regards

Philip  

Thanks Philip. You are no stranger to this part of the world. I was in fact curious whether you ever visited St.Kitts or Nevis during one of your Caribbean trips. It's was -11C this morning in Chicago. I wish I was back on the beach, even if I had to flight for a cabana with a retiree from Oklahoma. As for AA, I guess I didn't bring up anything new. Most of us here have flown them so we know what they are all about.  .

Thanks again.



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineCPAir From Brazil, joined Apr 2010, 18 posts, RR: 0
Reply 42, posted (1 year 8 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 8446 times:
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Beautiful pics, excellent report. Thanks for share.

User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 43, posted (1 year 7 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 8041 times:

Quoting CPAir (Reply 42):
Beautiful pics, excellent report. Thanks for share.

Thanks, CPAir, I really appreciate it.



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